4. Creation, Providence, and Man

God Creates and Rules All Things

In the beginning, the triune God freely created out of nothing the universe and everything in it by the word of his power, all for his own pleasure and the display of his glory.[1] God declared the entirety of his creation to be very good,[2] and even in its fallen state it tells of his greatness[3] and is to be delighted in[4] and stewarded for his glory.[5] As supreme Creator, God is separate from and transcendent over all he has made.[6] As sovereign Lord, he is present with his creation to sustain all things,[7] govern all creatures, and direct all circumstances in accord with his holy and loving will.[8] In everything God supremely acts for his glory[9] and for the good of his people in Christ,[10] granting us great comfort and unshakable hope in God’s love, wisdom, and faithfulness to us in this life and in eternity.[11]

Man’s Creation in God’s Image

God created man, male and female,[12] in his own image[13] as the crown of creation and the object of his special care.[14] God directly created Adam from the dust of the earth,[15] and Eve from Adam’s side,[16] as the parents of the entire human race.[17] They were created to know and glorify their Maker by trusting in his goodness and obeying his word.[18] God gave them dominion over all creation, to fill, subdue, and steward the earth as his representatives.[19] All human beings are likewise made in the image of God.[20] Despite the effects of the fall on sinful humanity,[21] all people remain God’s image bearers, capable of fellowship with him and possessing intrinsic dignity and value at every stage of life from conception to death.[22] Redemption in Christ progressively restores fallen men and women to their true humanity as they are conformed to the image of Christ.[23]

Man as Male and Female

Men and women are both made in the image of God and are equal before him in dignity and worth.[24] Gender, designated by God through our biological sex, is therefore neither incidental to our identity nor fluid in its definition, but is essential to our identity as male and female. Although the fall distorts and damages God’s design for gender and its expression,[25] these remain part of the beauty of God’s created order. Men and women reflect and represent God in distinct and complementary ways, and these differences are to be honored and celebrated in all dimensions of life. To deny or seek to remove these differences is to distort a fundamental way in which we glorify God as male and female.

Marriage, Sexuality, and Singleness

Biblical manhood and womanhood enrich human flourishing in all its dimensions. God instituted marriage as the union of one man and one woman who complement each other in a one-flesh union[26] that ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church.[27] This remains the only normative pattern of sexual relations for humanity. Husbands are to exercise headship sacrificially and with humility,[28] and wives are to serve as helpers to their husbands, willingly supporting and submitting to their leadership.[29] Together these complementary roles bring joy and blessing to each other and display the beauty of God’s purposes to the world. Single men and women are no less able to enjoy and honor God and no less important to his purposes. They also are to give expression to God’s image in distinct and complementary ways, flourishing as his image bearers and bringing him glory in their singleness.[30]

[1] Gen 1; Ps 19:1; 33:6; John 1:3; Col 1:15-17; Heb 11:3; Rev 4:11.

[2] Gen 1:31.

[3] Ps 19:1-6; Rom 1:20.

[4] Ps 111:2; 1 Tim 4:4.

[5] Gen 1:26, 28; Ps 8.

[6] 1 Kings 8:27; Isa 6:1; 66:1.

[7] Ps 145:15; 147:8-9; Luke 12:24; Heb 1:3.

[8] Eph 1:11; Rom 8:28-29.

[9] Isa 43:7; Eph 1:6, 12.

[10] Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28; Eph 1:22.

[11] Rom 5:3-5; 8:31; Phil 1:6; 1 Pet 4:19; Jude 24.

[12] Gen 1:27.

[13] Gen 1:26-27; 9:6.

[14] Ps 8:4-8.

[15] Gen 2:7.

[16] Gen 2:22.

[17] 1 Cor 15:22, 45-49.

[18] Gen 2:16-17; Eccles 3:11; Isa 43:7; Rom 1:19-21.

[19] Gen 1:26, 28.

[20] Gen 9:6; James 3:9.

[21] Rom 3:23; Eph 2:1; 4:18; Col 1:21.

[22] Ps 139:13-16; Jer 1:5; Rom 14:8; James 3:9.

[23] Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18; Eph 4:24; Col 3:10.

[24] Gen 1:27; 9:6; Gal 3:28; James 3:9.

[25] Gen 3:16-19.

[26]Gen 2:18-25.

[27]Eph 5:31-33.

[28]Eph 5:25-30; Col 3:19; 1 Pet 3:7.

[29]Gen 2:18; Eph 5:22-24; Col 3:18; 1 Pet 3:1-2.

[30] E.g., 1 Cor 7:6-8; Luke 2:36-37